Not surprisingly, I like to focus on the beginning.

After last week's offensive snoozefest, Greg Roman seemed to figure it out. Two things, actually. First, though Roman was clearly a run-first guy, his young QB was one of the league's most dynamic throwers. And, second, to beat the Patriots, he'd have to score, and score a lot.

It's not rocket science.

You throw. You throw deep. And you watch Colin Kaepernick explode.

Our first drive should be kept in a bottle. Short passes, for 11, 12, and 13; and three plays later, a bomb for the score. And there it was, after all these years, the West Coast Offense that we grew up with: dink, dink, dink, BOOM!

Oh, sure, we backed up that score with gobs of opportunities missed: Delanie Walker's latest drop, David Akers' latest miss, a bomb just out of VD's reach, a fumbled snap on fourth-and-one. Still, touchdown bomb #2, followed by an Akers chip-shot—about the only thing he's good for anymore—provided a reasonable halftime cushion. Thanks also to our D, of course, which left Tom Brady completely befuddled.

Take my advice, friends. Don't dwell on how last year's Super Bowl might've gone. It's just not worth that kind of pain.

Early in the second half, the Niners started to pile it on. Kaepernick was tricked into a deep pick—a real offense involves more risk, so you might as well get used to it—but Dashon Goldson took a fumble all the way back to the Patriots' six. Frank Gore scored on yet another fumbled snap—it was pouring rain, so just calm down—and not even 20 seconds later, after an Aldon Smith interception, Kaepernick threw touchdown bomb #3.

The Patriots, having eviscerated the Texans the week before, were the league's consensus #1 team. They hadn't lost a late-season game in nearly three years. They hadn't lost a December home game in nearly 10 years. And the Niners were up, 31 to 3.

It'd been an up-and-down season, for sure. But at that moment, the Niners were the greatest team in the league, by far.

Let's not dwell on what happened with the Patriots' next four drives. Suffice to say, I'll never understand the thinking, insanely common in every sport. You come out aggressively, you get a big lead, and then for some reason you simply stop. Against some crummy, low-grade opponent, maybe you get away with it. Against Tom Brady, not so much.

Our D went into a nice soft zone, which Brady promptly picked apart: 31-10. Our O responded with a five-play drive whose last four plays were run, run, pass, punt. Our D, still playing zone, gave up another easy one: 31-17, with the crowd now thoroughly back in the game. Another three-and-out on O. Our D sort of went back into man, but the Patriots were now on a roll, and a questionable PI call gave them another score: 31-24, and sheer delirium. A penalty and a sack produced another three-and-out, and our D, now looking exhausted, gave up a tying 90-yard drive.

Faith and fandom are all well and good. But you couldn't help but think, it's over. We are about to suffer our very worst regular-season loss. Of all time.

Knee-deep in a mess like this, there's gotta be a real temptation. Maybe it's just a tiny one, and maybe it's just in the darkest corners of an athlete's mind. But an athlete, no matter how rich or gifted, is a human being; and to some extent, he must be tempted to just check out. At times, the wave against you is so overwhelming, you just can't summon the will to keep fighting.

But the Niners did. LaMichael James broke a big return, Kaepernick made a great read on a blitz, and Michael Crabtree broke a tackle and went to the house.

And after precisely 18 seconds, the Niners were alive again.

Even then, there were heads to be shaken. Ted Ginn continued his best impression of Kyle Williams, and Roman called three runs and out. But somehow, perhaps revitalized by their reprieve, our D summoned one more push. And what might've been a 50-point win turned into the narrowest of narrow escapes.

Naturally, in the aftermath of such a wild affair, there's a bit of unrest in the zeitgeist. That was truly a signature win, putting us back at the top of the heap. And indeed, notwithstanding the missed opportunities, the team that built that four-touchdown lead would beat anyone, anywhere—and they'd win the Super Bowl in a rout.

And the stirring straw, of course, is Kaepernick. I'm simply in awe. Yeah, he occasionally shows his inexperience. But despite having had to endure some of the game's most daunting conditions—with a trip to Seattle looming next—the kid has put up a start for the ages. He's gone deep with 24% of his throws, good for fifth. Yet his rating is 101.4, which would rank fifth as well. If you want a mix of efficiency and explosiveness—and you might've guessed, that's kind of my thing—I'm telling you, you can't do too much better than this.

But New England's comeback showed all the things that'll make these playoffs so nerve-wracking. As we've discussed, Jim Harbaugh's aggressive competitive philosophy—knock your man down, kick him in the ribs, then crush his windpipe under your heel—doesn't seem to extend to his coordinators. Those two have shown that they tend to let up, and it almost produced an epic disaster. Add to this the stupefying regressions of Akers and Ginn, and it's easy to see how the Niners might lose.

A blown lead. Or a missed field-goal. Or God forbid, a fumbled punt. After last year's crushing heartache—I'm still not over it, even today—I won't be able to deal with another.

So let's make a deal, okay? Let's keep those reins off Kaepernick. Let's stay after it on D. Let's go to Seattle and seize that bye.

And let's take Sunday's win to its logical conclusion.

Let's go win the Super Bowl.